8AM WEATHER REPORT: Traffic problems ease

WEATHER experts are predicting a milder weekend as the region continues to dry out following the flooding earlier this week.

The heaviest September rain for 30 years caused widespread chaos across Hartlepool and East Durham on Tuesday, with homes and businesses flooded and many roads impassable due to deep standing water.

The majority of roads affected by the rain have now been reopened, and forecasters expect the North-East to avoid any heavy rain over the next couple of days.

Among the roads to finally reopen yesterday were the A19 north and south-bound slip roads at Billingham Bottoms.

Gemma Plumb, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, said there would be showery rain across northern England and Wales, moving south east across the west of the country throughout the weekend.

She said: “Behind that are some showers that will be heavy and quite frequent across western Scotland.

“There is the possibility of 15-20mm of rain in western Scotland. In general we are not expecting high rainfall totals.”

The Met Office said the outlook is better for the coming days, with weather returning to the mixed picture of settled periods and low pressure systems which the country would normally expect at this time of year.

The Met Office said the most intense September storm since 1981 is the result of the unusual position of the jet stream: a high-altitude band of wind which steers weather systems. It caused heavy rain and floods in the summer when it shifted further south than normal.

In the past week the jet stream has had a “kink” in it, a spokesman said, so the low pressure bringing the rain was caught in the kink and ricocheted over the country instead of being channelled north of the UK.

Some areas of the UK have seen around 4in (100mm) of rain in the past few days.